Save Silver Springs
North and Central Florida is blessed with many historic springs that are fed by the Florida aquifer. Since the late 1800s, the springs have attracted visitors and artists from all over the world. The springs feed area streams and rivers with fresh clear water and are essential to the wildlife habitat. The springs also serve a a guage for determining the health of Florida’s aquifer where most of Florida’s drinking water comes from.
Silver Springs was settled by the Timucuan Indians in the 1500s. In the late 1870s Phillip Morell built a glass-bottomed rowboat and sold rides above the springs. By the 1890s, commercial glass-bottomed boats were developed. (1) These glass-bottomed boats are still in use today and the give visitors a wonderful view into the spring.
Between 1932 and 1942, six of the original Tarzan movies, starring Johnny Weissmuller, were filmed on location at Silver Springs. In the 1930s, several rhesus monkeys were introduced to the area to attract visitors. Those monkeys escaped and their ancestors are still at Silver Springs today. In 1972, Silver Springs was declared a registered Natural Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. (1)
Silver Springs is threatened today by a Marion County rancher who is asking the St Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) for a permit to approve withdrawal of up to 13.2-million gallons of groundwater a day from his property, Adena Springs Ranch. The ranch is close to Silver Springs and a withdrawal of 13.2mgd will most certainly have negative impacts on the already stressed springs and lakes in the area. In fact, this water use request by Adena Springs Ranch could ruin Silver Springs forever.
Several protests have taken place over the past few weeks by Floridians who object to the consumptive use permit for Adena Springs Ranch. More action is needed, right now, as Adena Springs Ranch has already begun work without a permit. There is a Take Action For Water petition being circulated and there is a letter writing campaign by the Sierra Club to protect Silver Springs and deny the Adena Springs Ranch water use permit application.
Ccoming up this Saturday, June 23, 2012 the Florida Conservation Coalition is hosting Speak Up for Silver Springs and Florida’s Waters at Silver River State Park in Ocala, Florida. FCC founder Sen. Bob Graham appeared on the University of Florida’s WUFT on June 18 to talk about the event and you can listen to the interview here. Tomorrow, June 21, 2012, Sen. Grahan will appear on the show First Coast Connect from WJCT in Jacksonville (show begins at 9am).
Stand up and take action to save Silver Springs and all of Florida’s precious water now before it is too late.
By: Jim Weeks
Sources: (1) Silver Springs heritage from silversprings.com.